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Evidence shows compensation is warranted for vets

28 July 2006

Evidence shows compensation is warranted for vets - Greens

A Massey University study that links definite DNA damage to war veterans exposed to Agent Orange shows the Government should reconsider its position on paying compensation to those affected, the Green Party says.

Greens Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says the Government should consider this new information in alongside the yet to be published report of the Joint Working Group into the Concerns of Vietnam Veterans and rethink its present stance of not paying veterans compensation specifically for effects of exposure to Agent Orange.

"This study indicates these men have suffered irreversible effects from their exposure to the defoliant during their time in Vietnam.

"It is time the Government acknowledged this and gave the veterans the compensation they have been seeking," Ms Kedgley says.

"I also believe that further studies must be conducted into the effects this exposure has had on the children, grandchildren and future generations of the veterans.

The results raised wider concerns about the long-term safety of pesticides.

"It shows that in liberally spraying pesticides all over New Zealand when we don't know what their long-term health effects might be, we are involving New Zealanders in a huge and risky experiment, Ms Kedgley says.

Two of the ingredients of Agent Orange - 2-4-5-T and 2-4-D - are present in our own environment thanks to the liberal use of both herbicides for weed control.

"While 2-4-5-T has now be banned, 2-4-D continues to be used. The Green Party believes the Government should urgently reconsider the use of this highly toxic chemical," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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